Setting up a New Mac from Scratch

February 4, 2019
Category: Tech

My trusty 2013 MacBook Pro died over the weekend. Here is everything I installed and configured on my new machine to get it up to speed. Setting up a new machine from scratch is a great way to clear the cruft that inevitably builds up over time.

I’m sure I’ll find a few more things in the next month that I forgot, but this is ~95% complete.

  • 1Password - Without this I wouldn’t be able to get in to anything. First app I installed.
  • Dropbox - File transfer was going to take a while and I needed it for syncing data for other apps below.
  • Setapp - One of the best purchases in the last few years. One subscription for tons of apps. Below is what I installed right away.
  • Drafts - I installed the Mac beta. All of my text starts here.
  • Things - My current to-do list
  • Soulver - Best Mac and iOS calculator
  • Tweetbot - My fav third-party Twitter client
  • Copay - Bitcoin wallet
  • Pixelmator Pro - I’ve completely stopped using PhotoShop and use this instead.
  • Trello - Project management. I prefer the desktop app to the web client because I like standalone apps.
  • FruitJuice - Gotta keep your laptop battery healthy.
  • Amphetamine - Keeps your Mac awake when it needs to do things like download your entire Dropbox. Better than Caffeine, the alternative.
  • Slack
  • DaisyDisk - Visualizes your disk space and helps you find giant files
  • The Unarchiver - Installing a lot of new stuff means unzipping a lot of files. The Unarchiver is the best at it.
  • Hazel - Automated organization. Renames files I download and stores them automatically, dumps the trash, organizes my desktop, etc.
  • RescueTime - Time management software that I’ve used since 2010.
  • Keybase - Security and identity
  • Notion - Project management, documents, collaboration, publishing. Basically runs my work life.
  • Zoom - Video conferencing
  • Rocket - Slack-like Emoju picking for your entire OS 🚀
  • TextExpander - Text snippets + AppleScript automation kickoff
  • CarbonCopyCloner - I set up weekly drive clones to external harddrives. Saved my bacon multiple times. I didn’t lose a thing this time because I backed up the night before automatically.
  • Backblaze - Offsite backup. Critical.
  • WordPress - I like managing all of my sites from this single app.
  • Adobe CreativeCloud - Primarily for Typekit
  • Sketch
  • Spotify
  • Turbo Boost Switcher Pro - Toggles the Turbo Boost feature on your CPU for better battery life.

Chrome Extensions

  • Zoom video conferencing - Changes all Google Hangouts links to Zoom links
  • Wappalyzer - Figuring out what stacks other sites are using & figuring out whether or not things I install are actually activated
  • DuckDuckGo - My default search engine
  • Ghostery - Death to all tracking scripts
  • Stayfocusd - Blocks social media during the workday
  • What Have You Made Today? - My favorite new tab screen
  • Larder - My bookmarking of choice

Development Tools

Misc Settings and preferences I set

  • Hot corners - Can’t live without them since 10.4
  • Generated new SSH keys
  • defaults write AppleShowAllFiles YES - Gotta see those hidden files
  • Apple’s enhanced dictation - The extra suite of dictation tools
  • True Tone on
  • Night Shift on

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